The smaller sixgill shark Evan Sztricsko found last summer near Ogden Point. The eye had been eaten away by marine scavengers. (Photo by Evan Sztricsko )

Mystery 10-foot shark that washed ashore identified

Staff at a marine ecology lab at the University of Victoria are seeking a necropsy to be performed

The 10-foot shark that washed ashore at Coles Bay in Sidney, B.C., has been identified by experts as a Hexanchus griseus or a bluntnose sixgill shark.

Residents saw what they thought was a shark swimming in the bay in the Greater Victoria area last Sunday, and two days later, saw it had washed onto the beach, dead.

Brian Timmer, a student at the University of Victoria’s prestigious Juanes Laboratory, which focuses on marine ecology and conservation, thought because of the shark’s distended belly, it’s likely it was a mother that ran into complications while giving birth. Mother sharks are known to come into shallower waters to give birth and have large litters of 20 to 100 pups.

James Younger, a Saanich Peninsula resident was by the shoreline this afternoon when a biologist inspecting the shark, made a discovery that seemed to confirm Timmer’s suspicions.

“[The biologist] saw a head, leant down and pulled out a baby shark from the birth canal. He said the mother probably died while giving birth.”

RELATED: 10-foot-long shark washes ashore in North Saanich

READ ALSO: Ratfish generates social media buzz on Vancouver Island

Other possibilities are that it was poisoned, endured a stressful event, or died of old age.

The Juanes Laboratory is contacting Fisheries and Oceans Canada to see if they can perform the necropsy and report back.

A similar event occurred in Port Alberni in 2011, when a shark washed onto shore after encountering complications while giving birth.

Whale-watching skipper Evan Sztricsko was on the water south of Ogden Point in Victoria last summer when he recovered a much smaller sixgill shark.

“I was informed by the DFO that often they die choking on traps that are baited for crabs or other animals,” said Sztricsko.

READ ALSO: Rare ‘king of the salmon’ washes up on Oak Bay beach

Timmer added that since there will be a necropsy, the chances of a whale-style beach explosion, where internal gasses build up until they blow, is slim. Likely the stomach and any other organs that might have had gas buildup from decomposition will be taken for analysis and used to find out about the shark’s diet and lifestyle.

nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island teen was discovered

Brewers go down swinging in baseball semifinal playoff

Chemainus junior men’s squad falls just short of a second straight trip to the finals

Lack of consultation on Chemainus Road corridor project irks business owners, residents

Surprise expressed over change to anticipated North Cowichan plans

Fuller Lake Beach remains closed

High bacteria count prevents people from being in the water during warm summer days

Ladysmith Chamber president speaks up for local business at meeting with provincial ministers

Tammy Leslie, Ladysmith Chamber president presented three policy proposals to the government

VIDEO: Canadian zoos’ captive breeding programs help preserve endangered species

Programs considered last-ditch effort to prevent local extinctions of turtles, butterflies and more

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

Telus customers enraged as outage hits fifth day

Telus.net has been down since Aug. 15

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

Search crews find 4-year-old boy who went missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Most Read